Released A List Apart Digest No. 213, featuring "Flash cross-platform color shift" and similar geekishness. Digest subscriptions are free.
After much Network Solutions foolishness, Furbo Filters is back online!
14 January, 2000
In this week's issue of A List Apart, the magazine and mailing list for people who make websites:
Fear of Style Sheets 3 - A New Era, by Peter-Paul Koch. In Part Three of our ongoing series on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), new contributing writer Koch offers five rules to help you get the most from this cool web technology. The ALA magazine is also undergoing a subtle face-lift, starting with the new look of the front page. (Next up for the surgeon's knife: that tired menubar.)
12 January, 2000
Birthday. Clients by day, loved ones by night. Thanks to those who've been sending cards and such. When you stand on the appalling precipice of mortality and stare down into the abyss wait, wrong tone. Sorry. What were we saying? Oh yeah, thanks for the cards and notes. We do appreciate them.
Furbo Filters will soon be back online (see 10 January). Seems that Network Solutions ("the dot com people") had listed the wrong contact information, and ignored our partner's repeated attempts to correct the error. When the time came to renew the domain name, the wrong party was contacted, and the domain was taken offline. Iconfactory's Craig Hockenberry the smart half of Furbo Filters re-registered the domain (thus paying Network Solutions a second set-up fee) and furbo-filters.com is now percolating back through the Net.
(The "dot com people?" The "appalling lack of service people" would be more appropriate, but that's what happens when governments set up monopolies. We wouldn't mention this at all if it were an isolated incident. Fortunately, there are now other places to register domain names.)
11 January, 2000
A new and kooky little animated banner awaits your linking pleasure today.
You know how you like somebody's web work, so you write to them and eventually become pen pals? You know how, sooner or later, you meet some of these folks in person? Tonight we'll meet Leigh for the first time.
Tomorrow is one of those frightening birthdays no man can imagine until he reaches it.
10 January, 2000
For reasons as yet unknown, Network Solutions ("the dot com people") have dropped one of our dot coms: furbo-filters.com, online since early 1997, has disappeared. You can still visit the Furbo Filters site at its IP address: 220.127.116.11, but typing furbo-filters.com will get you nowhere. We are currently gnashing our teeth er, investigating.
Engineered by Craig Hockenberry, Furbo Filters are inexpensive Photoshop plug-ins that optimize color for web designers, and create other special visual effects. They were among the first filters to address the needs of web designers, at a time when Photoshop itself ignored those needs. (Adobe bundled our filters with Photoshop 4 and 5.)
The Furbo site, which has not changed much since early 1997, was also one of the first to be designed with cascading style sheets, at a time when that technology was barely supported in IE3, and not supported at all in any other "popular" web browser.
Thanks to Brian Platz of ALA for locating the site's numerical address. No thanks to Network Solutions.
9 January, 2000
We neglected to mention that yesterday was Elvis's birthday. No sightings were reported.
Joanne sent us this riddle:
A. Answer here.
8 January, 2000
Released A List Apart Digest No. 212, with threads on web-ifying Russian text, XML tools, why Flash animations change color, and more. (ALA membership is free.)
15 Minutes is half as good as MTV. That's the conclusion reached by Y2G "Best of the Web," an entertainment portal that assigns numerical quality ratings to the sites it reviews. Y2G grants MTV.com a whopping "39" rating, while 15 Minutes slouches in at "21."
Let's break those numbers down, shall we? MTV.com is a Viacom property, capitalized at, let's say, $8 million, with a staff of 50 marketers, designers, programmers, and copywriters, and access to a daily content feed from the corporate mothership.
15 Minutes - updated when we find an interesting celebrity who's willing to be interviewed - is a small section of a personal website, with no funding or staff.
We get a 21, they get a 39. If you divide the ratings by the number of staffers (or the number of dollars invested), 15 Minutes yields a far higher return on investment.
It's all in how you look at these things.
7 January, 2000
More alcoholic haikus. A mister btyler_at_nlfan.com is the latest soul to send us a fascinating letter to which we cannot reply, because the return address is invalid. btyler, if you're reading this, we tried, babe.
6 January, 2000
Fans of this site's Pardon My Icons collection may see an eerie familiarity in this photo of the Hotel Europa. (Thanks to Amber for alerting us to the coincidence.)
We're a bit discombulated over a Microsoft press release announcing IE5/Mac. We're quoted on behalf of The Web Standards Project with a supportive statement about Microsoft's goal of delivering a browser that complies with key web standards.
The quotation and the way it's presented are 100% accurate. Microsoft's engineers are close to delivering the first browser that will fully support HTML 4 and Style Sheets, two crucial web standards.
The problem is that the press release and supporting Flash presentation focus on proprietary features, such as a new "auction manager" and user-switchable color schemes. Those may be cool, but the WaSP has no opinion on them, and we hope casual readers will not think The Web Standards Project is endorsing color schemes.
5 January, 2000
A visitor asked Dr Web how to hide
<META>tags from browsers. Dave Lawson's article explains one way to do it. We wouldn't do this ourselves - we think source code is meant to be shared - but if you want it, there it is.
Joan, who has been away for six weeks, returns tonight. So don't expect anything new here for at least 24 hours.
4 January, 2000
The first alcoholic haikus of the new millennium are now available for your online reading pleasure. Perhaps pleasure is the wrong word.
If investors could see what really goes on at "Internet companies," they'd start moving into those bunkers the Y2K survivalists are now vacating.
The error occurred only in Netscape. The fix temporarily broke Explorer. In order for the function to work correctly in both browsers, it was necessary to lop off the
<TITLE>from our header. This means that search engines will display this site as UNTITLED.
The new script will not work with old browsers, since the Ecmascript specification was not around at the time they were created.
Someday, all browsers will work correctly.
The Ad Store has been updated, along with this site's Guest Book and Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves, a directory of sites that use our free graphics.
3 January, 2000
Dan Rees-Jones of [pull] was the 3,500,000th visitor to zeldman.com. (According to a screenshot in Great Web Architecture, on 17 February 1999 we'd entertained - or at any rate, been seen by - 2,617,810 visitors. A million a year ain't bad.)
Spent all of Sunday in rural New Jersey, meeting with a new client. If all goes well, we will build him the coolest thing in the world. New Jersey, long the butt of New Yorkers' cheap jokes, is actually lovely.
We've discovered yet another place where our free web icons hold sway: a discussion group at Userland.com. (Userland.com, "the web portal for people who create the web," is the home of Dave Winer's Frontier, an integrated content publishing system for Windows and Mac OS that dates back to Winer's days as a grad student in the 1970s. Yes, that was a very long sentence.)
Refreshed The Web Standards Project and this site's Guest Book.
2 January, 2000
Closed the Lawrence Welk Mailbox after five years online. Updated Ask Dr Web and the Guestbook.
Many beginning web authors (and some clients) mistake large, groovy graphics for "web design." Great Web Architecture by Clay Andres (IDG Books Worldwide) makes the case that real web design is a form of architecture, and that great web design is that which allows people to find what they're looking for.
Released in September, 1999, the book examines numerous sites which look great and work even better. Among many other examples, the book explores The Web Standards Project, and includes a longish interview with your humble web author.
getYear()function in this page's title bar delivers an amusing error in Netscape Navigator, which seems to think this is the Year 100. Explorer has no such problems with the code, which was donated to us long ago by irrepressible scriptmeister Porter Glendinning.
Mister "ed.rech_at_trib.com" is the most recent soul who's written to us from a non-existent address. Ed, if you're reading this, we tried to respond, babe. Check your email address and re-send.
Finally, congrats to Joe Jenett, whose Daily Web Thing has been redesigned. Looking good, Joe.
1 January, 2000
First news of the ohs (some folks calls 'em the double zeros, but we just calls 'em the ohs): The Web Standards Project welcomes Sally Khudairi and Michael Sweeney to our Steering Committee.
This should be the obligatory "How the hell did it get to be the year 2000?" mini-essay, but we're not up for that and neither are you. We will say, as we figured and you know, the Y2K rollover was a non-event. No H-bombs, no plunging elevators. We worked straight through without a glitch, except for a brief nap during the cable showing of Viva Las Vegas.
What is it about Elvis? We can see that, when he started, his edgy outsider vibe and pan-sexual appeal must have been hot stuff. And in Jailhouse Rock, you can see remnants of the rebel he might have been. But his handlers turned him into a family-friendly sideshow so fast, whatever he might have achieved as a genuine artist was destroyed.
Well, there's a Happy New Year's salutation for ya.
As to why we worked through the festivities, three of our clients have major launches in January, and our sweetie is visiting family in San Francisco. Had she been here in Gotham, we probably would have stayed home anyway. We've got a cat, a bed, and a bathtub. What more do you need? Viva Las Vegas!
31 December, 1999
This week, to celebrate 1000 years of peace and prosperity, we offer a big-ass double issue of A List Apart, the magazine and mailing list for people who make websites.
Features include: Juggling Chaos The Gentle Art of Prototyping, Julia Hayden's highly helpful guide to a crucial aspect of large-scale web development; The Web Year in Review, Alan Herrell's look back at 12 months of IPOs, domain hijackings, and flowerings of altruism; and our own Outside Reading column, featuring corporate lawyer shenanigans, site coding and marketing tips, an international design zine explosion, and fine art on the web.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we've updated the web's oldest alcoholic haiku contest (well, it is New Year's Eve), along with the usual pages.
We've shared an amazing year, young friends; we love you bunches and bunches. Have a safe one, kids; see you on the other side.